I WAS born in London in 1961 and trained as a reporter and press photographer in Britain. After working as a journalist in Britain for several years, I got bitten by the travel bug and headed off to the Middle East. There, I continued my work as a photojournalist in Jerusalem and Cairo. In 1986, at the height of reports of famine in sub-Saharan Africa, I worked as a volunteer in the feeding/hygiene centre on the Wad Sharife Refugee Camp, in Sudan. Since coming to Japan in 1988, I have worked on the editorial staff of The Japan Times, The Daily Yomiuri and Asahi Evening News. I was the Travel Page Editor at the Asahi Evening News for several years. I continue to specialise as a travel writer and photographer, and I am trying to get cracking on a second book, tentatively called “Japan on Bum: Sitting to Mu,” which is about my experiences of Zen training at a temple in Japan.
ETSUKO SHIMABUKURO was born in Okinawa in 1964 and studied archaeology at university in Tokyo. Later, she won a scholarship to study computer science at university in the United States. In 1991, Etsuko returned to Japan to take up the reins of her career at European and U.S. investment banks. Currently, she is working as a senior consultant for an IT venture company in Tokyo. During the Japan on Foot project, Etsuko planned the walking route and took most of the digital photographs. She also maintained the original Japan on Foot website in both English and Japanese and, with Mary, organised charity events for HELP. In April, 2006, Etsuko Shimabukuro was one of 18 Japanese to take part in a one-week marathon through the Sahara Desert.